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Meet the Judges

We are delighted to announce our judging panel for this year's competition.

(clockwise from top left) Ria Parry, Ray Fearon, Sabrina Mahfouz, Steve Titherington, Marion Nancarrow, Neil Webb

Ria Parry

Ria Parry is Co-Director of The North Wall in Oxford. She is a director and producer and has created work for venues including The Bush Theatre, Unicorn Theatre, Salisbury Playhouse, Regents Park Open Air Theatre and Watford Palace Theatre. She was the recipient of the Leverhulme Award for Emerging Directors at the National Theatre becoming Resident Director at the NT Studio in 2009.

Ray Fearon

After graduating from drama school, Ray garnered a reputation as a stage actor with the RSC and in the West End, becoming the first Black actor to play “Othello” on an RSC stage in over 40 years and later becoming an RSC Associate Artist.
His other notable theatre credits include playing Mark Anthony in Julius Caesar (RSC), Romeo in Romeo and Juliet (RSC) directed by Michael Attenborough, the title role in ‘Pericles’ (RSC), ‘Macbeth’ at Manchester Festival, “The Soldier’s Fortune” at the Young Vic, and “Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads” at the National Theatre.

Ray’s film credits include the blockbuster Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone, Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet and starring in Oskar Roehlar’s Lulu and Jimmi. His extensive television credits include BBC One’s Silk, Waking the Dead and Death In Paradise and ITV1’s Prime Suspect.

Sabrina Mahfouz

Sabrina Mahfouz’s numerous plays have won multiple international awards and she is currently writing a biopic of Wiley, the ‘godfather of grime’, for Pulse Films, as well as operas, digital dramas and a novel. With a Little Bit of Luck, performed at the Roundhouse main space, was the first radio drama on BBC Radio 1xtra. Sabrina also writes for children and her play Zeraffa Giraffa won a 2018 Off West End Award. Her poetry collection, How You Might Know Me, was a 2017 Guardian Best Summer Reads. Sabrina is the editor of The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write, a 2017 Guardian Book of the Year and is an essay contributor to The Good Immigrant, exploring her mixed racial heritage through British fashion.

Steve Titherington

Steve Titherington is Senior Commissioning Editor at the BBC World Service leading editorial projects and creating new programme formats, podcasts and partnerships. New shows include The Assassination; Trending, the Food Chain and The Inquiry – and BBC MINUTE. He has also been Executive Editor of Global News, Deputy Head of WS News Programmes and Head of the World Service Newsroom, where he led coverage of 9-ll and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has led teams covering major news events in the USA, Russia and China and has reported from around the world from Haiti to Hong Kong.

Neil Webb

Neil has been Director of the Theatre and Dance team at the British Council since 2012 and is responsible for leading and delivering a performing arts programme across the British Council's global network. He leads on their partnership with Unlimited, the UK’s commissioning programme for disability arts. He is on the programming panel for the Made in Scotland showcase, chairs the panel for the biennial Edinburgh Showcase and sits on the Advisory Committee for the IETM International network for contemporary performing arts. He was previously Regional Arts Director for East Asia, trained in ballet and contemporary dance and is a 2006/7 Fellow of the Clore Leadership Programme.

Marion Nancarrow


Marion Nancarrow has directed more than 250 dramas for the BBC, many of them for the BBC World Drama strand, which she ran for 11 years, working with writers and performers across the world. With the British Council, she has run drama workshops in Ghana, South Africa, Malawi and the Middle East and the first 2nd language Radio Writing Residency. Awards include Sony Gold and Silver, CRE Race in the Media and a New York Festival Medal. She is immensely proud to be involved with the International Playwriting Competition.